Good vs. Evil: Being Avengers in a Suicide Squad World

An Iron Man helmet surrounded by red smoke

Whether you are a Marvel or DC fan, you have to love seeing the characters jump from the comic book onto the silver screen as the fight between good and evil continues. I went to “Suicide Squad” with two of my kids (GCU students). As we left the theater, I could not articulate whether it was a good or bad movie; it just felt empty.

My son liked it but my daughter did not, so we talked about what made them draw these conclusions. After listening to them and comparing it to Marvel’s “Avengers,” it became clear to me that we were having a discussion of worldview foundations through the eyes of generational influences.

Let me explain.

In the Modernistic (“Avengers”) mindset, there was good and evil. Good people had integrity and nobility of cause and worked with other people of integrity to accomplish a goal of defeating evil influences from evil people. The means by which to fight that evil was to cause no harm to the innocent while protecting the noble citizenry to continue their lives.

In the Post-Modernistic (“Suicide Squad”) mindset, these values were blurred. The bad people did good things which make you cheer for them, and good people did bad things which we tolerated because, after all, they did do some good, too. Integrity was not necessarily a value – just doing more good things than bad. The good intentions of good behavior were more important than actually living it out.

Yes, I may be reading too much into this and may be making some broad assumptions. However, there are some stark (no Ironman pun intended) contrasts between the very foundations on which the “Avengers” and “Suicide Squad” were built. The former had people who used unique talents for good; the latter had people who used their unique talents for evil.

One was driven by integrity; the other was driven by hatred and vengeance. One risked his or her life for the good of mankind; the other risked his or her life for selfish motives or had no overall purpose but “lived in the moment.” One was led by a person of integrity, and the other was led by an opportunistic leader who was morally relativistic. One saved a life because it was mankind’s agenda, and the other took a life because it suited his or her agenda. One was motivated by the responsibility that his or her gift was for the good of all; the other used his or her gift for personal revenge or to manipulate reality to suit him or her. At the end of the movie, one made you cheer as the heroes were honored, and the other made you feel empty as the “heroes” returned to prison.

I could go on, but it is interesting that the “Avengers” saw that the solution to the problems of the world was combining one’s uniqueness with others to make the world a better place. Good people worked together and did good things, and good always overcame evil. For the “Suicide Squad,” they believed that if you can manipulate evil people by feeding their personal self-interests, then you can even get evil people to do good things. The product of this type of thinking is the idea that sometimes evil is so evil that good cannot compete with it, so you need something (or someone) more evil to neutralize it and just control the greater evil when the dust settles.

I grew up with a Modernistic mindset in my approach to life and entertainment. My kids have been saturated with a Post-Modernistic mindset. Our future lies, not in perfecting our evil pursuits, but in knowing good and evil.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.